The art of sharing

I let this space gather dust because I forgot that I started a blog simply because I had something to say. I forgot that I still have things to say.

That was the short story I wrote when I made a quiet return to this space.

This is the long story.

Let’s go back to the beginning. The very beginning. September 2010, when I first hit that big blue publish button on my very first blog post on this very site. Like any new hobby, I was super excited at first, rushing home from work every day to spend my entire evening crafting a blog post, from idea to execution. I didn’t know about editorial calendars. And I had some crazy idea in my head that I had to post five days a week.

I’m sure you’re surprised to hear that fizzled out pretty quickly.

My first year in blogging was pretty sporadic. Then, I came across a challenge to post every day for 31 days. I figured, why not? I was paying for a domain name and hosting after all, and I was barely using it.

For the challenge, I decided I would share photos and trivia about 31 different countries in Europe. I planned the whole thing out in advance and finally understood the beauty of an editorial calendar. I spent my lunch break scouring the Internet for photos I loved and saving interesting facts, then I’d rush home and create layouts from the photos (probably with some questionable photo crediting practices, if I’m being honest). It was crazy, and I felt like I was spending all of my free time blogging. But I finished the challenge, and I loved it. It was the momentum I needed to commit to a regular, though less crazy, blogging schedule.

Over the next few years, I continued publishing on a regular schedule. I changed up the frequency as needed, and naturally I’d miss the occasional post due to other priorities, but for the most part, it was important to me to keep writing, whatever the topic. And I did.

I wrote about my style inspiration, projects I wanted to do in my apartment, places I wanted to see, things I wanted to do. Then I launched my business and started getting questions about entrepreneurship, blogging, and WordPress, and so I answered them on my blog. My blog grew, and in turn, my business grew. I found it easier and easier to sell my services, because all of my potential clients were already reading my blog and trusted that I knew what I was doing. I considered my blog an essential part of my business and enjoyed starting my week creating content.

Then, I began to sense some big shifts in the blogging world I had come to know and love. I watched other entrepreneurs grow their followings to double, triple, even quadruple what I had on my best month, seemingly overnight. I watched those entrepreneurs celebrate six-figure launch after six-figure launch, seemingly with ease. (I know that behind every overnight success is a long and winding path littered with failures, but I’m only human, and it’s easy to forget that people only share their highlight reel.)

Most importantly, I watched blogging become a calculated science. After all, if you’re going to spend time blogging, shouldn’t it make you money? If you’re really smart, every blog post leads to a content upgrade leads to a ten-email sequence leads to a $100 product leads to a $1000 product. And then you optimize the shit out of each post with the best SEO keywords, the perfect pinnable image, interspersed with numerous calls-to-action to hook people in. Your blog should be a content factory that makes you money while you sleep. You’re wasting your time if your content doesn’t lead the reader down a path that ends with their credit card number.

No wonder trying to blog again felt like climbing a mountain that was growing underneath me.

After much reflection, I’ve realized the thing I miss the most about blogging is the art of sharing. The beauty of rough drafts. The simple act of documenting and exploring your thoughts and ideas, fully formed or not, and seeing where it takes you.

I admit, I let the noise get to me. Blogging was never supposed to be about other people. It was always supposed to be a home for my own creativity. So here I am, with a new blogging mission: to share for the sake of sharing. I’m excited to see where it goes next.

Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash